All thanks to civil society activists, the Sindh government after a period of two years is likely to appoint a chairperson for the provincial commission on status of women after Eid, learnt The News on Wednesday.
The Sindh Assembly had on April 6, 2015, passed the Sindh Commission on Status of Women Act; it got the then governor’s approval on May 12 after which it was published as an act of the provincial legislature.
As per the Act, the Sindh government was bound to constitute a commission, the Sindh Provincial Commission on the Status of Women (SPCSW), within 90 days of the passing of the law so as to empower the commission to exercise the powers conferred upon, and to perform the functions assigned to it. The committee is to consist of 21 members, including a chairperson.
Owing to efforts of the Provincial Steering Forum (PSF), a civil society watchdog formed in March this year to ensure implementation of the recently passed pro-women laws in Sindh, it is likely that the commission will become functional soon after the appointment of its chairperson in the first two weeks of September.
Formed by the Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO), the PSF comprises civil society and women rights activists, government officials and media personnel. A delegation of the forum met with several top government officials, including Rizwan Memon, chief secretary Sindh, and Irum Khalid, advisor to Sindh Chief Minister for women development, and organised consultative meetings over the issue.
Due to these efforts, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah directed the authorities concerned to expedite the process of finalising the commission’s chairperson and members.
The News has learnt that the parliamentary committee formed for the appointment of the commission’s chairperson, being headed by provincial minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro, has forwarded its recommendations. However, a final notification will be issued after the CM approves of the recommendation.
The 21 members of the commission are to include female representatives of minority communities, seven members representing each division, seven experts on gender development, law, social sector and academicians, five ex-officio members representing provincial departments of women, law, finance, home and social welfare, not below BPS-19, and a secretary of the commission.
The commission is intended to be based in Karachi and would have all the powers ensured under the commission. A special committee consisting of minister women development, convener and a member of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, chairperson and a member of the Sindh Human Rights Commission, secretary law and secretary women development department was constituted for recommendations of the chairperson and members of the commission.
The commission aims at promoting social, economic, political and legal rights of women as provided in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973, and international declarations, conventions, treaties and agreements relating to women, including Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).